The mother of all downturns?

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by chilango, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    Older posters may remember during the 1980s the SWP and their "downturn" theory. Yet with the rose-tinted glasses of hindsight the Eighties seem like a positively balmy climate for the growth of working class militancy/the left/protest movements/resistance (delete according to your preference).

    These feel like bleaker times than I've ever encountered before.

    We've just seen the Italian Left take an absolute beating.

    What passes for protest movements in this country seem (from a distance) to be largely engaged with the most toxic self-destruction on social media.

    The organisations (from the SWP to the AFed) are seemingly on the brink of extinction.

    Otherwise sensible people are no longer throwing eggs at Labour MPs but instead placing them all in their baskets.

    Even here on Urban, weeks can go by without there being anything of real substance on P&P. Even the bearpit is preferable to the tumbleweeds.

    I'm sure many of us still plug away, doing what we can, where we can. But, fuck me, it's depressing.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  2. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    Can't get involved in anything in my area because everything is Corbyn, so when nothing changes* it's going to be even worse than after the stop the war for despondency.

    *either by losing the election or watering down of all policies after winning (my money is on the former)
  3. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    "Everything is Corbyn".


    But is that everything a lot less than everything used to be?
    frogwoman, gawkrodger, krink and 2 others like this.
  4. sihhi

    sihhi John 3:30

    I've never seen such acceptance and tolerance shown towards Labour from the left in my life ever.
    Also, I have never felt the gulf between middle-class and working-class so wide. For all the talk - middle-class people - especially those with family property - have the world is a playground fly to Asia, fly to Latin America, seek out and do fun stuff. For working-class people it's just being anxious all the time.
    Immediate short-term gains from a national perspective for the working-class of restrictionist immigration measures have never been more apparent. Once these are set in motion, the right in east Europe can not but make further hay.
    I see a decade or two decade long battle between two poles - pro-EU and anti-EU - wrangling over the post-2019 status of Britain with the EU. Every defect in capitalism will be blamed on the other side.
  5. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank We kill the flame

    And without the SWP, how will we find enough old white stalinist men to sabotage any and all legitimate progressive movements?
  6. taffboy gwyrdd

    taffboy gwyrdd Embrace the confusion!

    A more overtly left wing labour leadership and membership has to be a welcome thing on the left, but there's a huge risk of the "1 more push" vibe of 87 and especially 92.

    I'll say this though, from an objective POV the left look eminently sensible compared to the far right as expemplified by billionaire rags and their countless bleating dupes. Far right terror, rhetoric, memes and abuse are much more a part of British life now.

    The same can't be said of the left. There does seem to be focus on policy and issues rather than the identity-based obsessions (e.g white man as victim / aren't muslims awful etc.) of the fascists.

    All eggs in one basket can be a problem, but things were also a problem when they were more diffuse and unrealistic.

    If Labour can win the next GE this conversation may well not matter. But there's a huge risk they won't and I don't know why anyone would take such victory for granted.
    Bingo likes this.
  7. taffboy gwyrdd

    taffboy gwyrdd Embrace the confusion!

    I'm not a huge expert on 5 Star, but is it possible they have hoovered up a lot more of the otherwise left-inclined vote if they seem more "relevant" (i.e "populist") than trad left parties?

    If so, then perhaps a renewed Labour might not suffer the same problem, especially with FPTP. Where is the equivalent of our 5 Star? For better or worse, it doesn't exist.
  8. sihhi

    sihhi John 3:30

    I think you have failed to grasp what chilango is suggesting.
  9. taffboy gwyrdd

    taffboy gwyrdd Embrace the confusion!

    Possibly, and I'm clear it's a big "if".

    But the most left wing government in maybe most of our adult life times could hardly be THAT depressing.
    Rimbaud and Bingo like this.
  10. sihhi

    sihhi John 3:30

    Judging by the evidence of Labour local government eg in London under Khan (to the right of Livingstone) there are no grounds for this belief.
    mather, tim, gawkrodger and 5 others like this.
  11. taffboy gwyrdd

    taffboy gwyrdd Embrace the confusion!

    I could say the same where I live. But if Corbyn / McDonnell couldn't deliver some fairly hefty left reforms then we're fucked anyway, which is perhaps the point of the thread I suppose.
  12. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    2008-->brexit has brought out the class polarisation that always existed, that, is a fact of historical and ongoing life in this country since the early days of the industrial revolution. The one that displaced town and country, but has now, oddly been refocused on just those terms. Class insularity when there was some sort of balance - unions, social-democracy etc - vs one where one side simply has everything are v diff things. We're back in the robber baron age. Accepting people freezing to death as part of middle class people's economic freedom is beyond absurd.

    Maybe there is no way out of the impasse and it's just us waiting for 'the event' to happen.
  13. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    OK, if the crisis in 2008 wasn't down to brown and his economic policies but wider global forces in what ways could McDonnell save the world?
    redcogs and taffboy gwyrdd like this.
  14. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    This is precisely the problem that chilango is referring to. Labour is not the magic solution to this.
    redcogs and taffboy gwyrdd like this.
  15. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    It's funny, from where I'm organising in London, and through the people I know, the left currently looks more interesting than it has in my lifetime.

    Why would the decline of the SWP or Afed be a bad thing? I don't know much about afed, but what were their achievements? What I've seen for most of my life is energy going into things like RTS and other tactics that had no way of concretely changing most people's lives. It feels like people are trying to think about things more practically at the moment.

    As I've argued before, I don't think all the energy going into Labour is permanently committed to Labour. If the left of Labour produces no improvements in people's lives that energy will go elsewhere.
  16. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    On this, I think most urbanites aren't plugged in to things happening in London at the moment. For example there's been a huge movement towards community organising modes of organising at the intersection of the radical ngo sector and activist circles. I rarely see people talking about that on here.
    Rimbaud likes this.
  17. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls


    Proving chilango's point. And making some odd ultra-activist claims to superior insight and experience.
  18. taffboy gwyrdd

    taffboy gwyrdd Embrace the confusion!

    Brown globally led the way on being soft on bankers. Passing it off as a global thing is like when you get those stories of kids smashing up a house at a wild party, and the one doing most of the damage and cheerleading says "what? Me? but everyone was doing it"

    The soft treatment of The Blue Arrow scandal comes back from the cobwebs of my mind. Far more US people went to jail for general finance fraud.

    Then Labour bought the other lie, that the crash was because we were too left wing, not (as in fact they were) too right wing.

    Now, how could McDonnell evade bigger global trends? I get that concern in the context of what the OP says re Italy (and other places), although there are potential international allies for broad reform (revolutionaries should note that revolution often comes on the back of reform). AFAIK, 5 Star are very against global finance fraud and its hold on "democratic" governments.

    It's one potential hope that leaving the EU could be helpful in all this, but there's still a bigger risk for now that the carnival of reaction might dominate, which is indeed depressing.
  19. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    You don't have an analysis of capitalism - this is just a list of character defects. I'm not interested in this.
  20. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    There's good grassroots organising going on as there ever was but it centres around single-issue stuff which struggles to gain traction into wider things.

    Admittedly my only recent experience/action has been around various social housing campaigns but its been immensely frustrating spending as much time fighting Labour councils than anything else. Really up against it.
  21. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    As long term posters will know, I shed no tears for the demise if the SWP. But it's not like they've been replaced by anything better.
    october_lost likes this.
  22. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    It's not the decline of the specific groups themselves that concerns me, it's the decline of an environment or conditions able to support them.
  23. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    Right here, right now the two most obvious areas of activity are to get involved in the Labour Party and elect Corbyn and to get involved in opposing the Labour Party run council on single issues such as cuts to facilities or environmental stuff.

    Can't square that circle, even if I wanted to.
    sealion, newbie, gawkrodger and 4 others like this.
  24. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Really? Even in 1997 & so on, and would you have said the same prior to Corbyn? The former is pretty much before my time so I ask out of curiosity.

    This sounds like an unhelpful caricature. Who are the MC in this context? New graduates, or BTL landlords? Is there no spectrum?
    NoXion likes this.
  25. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    The first one is an odd question - what do you imagine the relationship of the non-labour left to labour was in 97? Love? Support? It really really wasn't.

    Pension obsessed market sniffing graduate corbyn supporters who never actually got round to joining up.
  26. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    I don't know (and noone said non-Labour) hence the question.

    Nice work - a combo of The Files and a halfhearted bit of profile search. How much stuff about Fiat 500s did you have to trudge through for a post about pensions?
    bimble likes this.
  27. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Well they didn't. The left in that part from sihhi meant non-labour.

    I apologise for having a memory for seeing things over and over and forming impressions from doing so.
  28. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Give me watered down Corbyn anyday over the current lot. Watered down Corbyn will be significantly better than May, Cameron, Brown, Blair, Major or Thatcher. Not just less bad, I mean significantly better.

    And if Labour do lose the election, then the real challenge will be to avoid the mistakes of 1992-1997 and keep left and try to be patient (hard I know)
    likesfish likes this.
  29. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Come now, you don't have a memory bar a single one you got wrong and have reused for several years now. What actually happened is you just went to the first page of 'posts by' and stopped at whatever you thought you could use as a dig, which was disappointingly premature at the 11th post. It's the 73rd of mine on here with the word pension in it, however, so I'll grant you the obsession bit on statistical grounds. Had it not been that it'd presumably be something about the word 'mortgage' instead. I do enjoy you having to sift your way through shit about hatchbacks and Android keyboards and road signs though so keep it up.
  30. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    I didn't. I just saw you talking about pensions and markets the other day. It's unlikely i saw any of your posts from then until the first one on this thread.

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